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smiley j

Boots

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Hi all. After over a decade of lurking and life (and excuses) getting in the way I'm taking a club course in the Spring. I have a lot of the required gear already from backpacking and scrambling, but the boot thing is starting to give me paralysis by analysis! For reasons of personal bias I'm leaning towards a leather boot like the LS Makalu, but I've also tried on a pair of Scarpa Charmoz that was unfortunately too big, but it seemed like a good boot in spite of being mostly synthetic. Just not sure what I should be looking for as far as a 3-season North Cascades boot. Any tips, wisdom, etc.. would be greatly appreciated 'cause my brain is fried from online boot research.

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If the Charmoz is too big I'd check out this (I just bought a pair recently): https://www.sportiva.com/trango-tower-gtx.html

I think they are a great (maybe not perfect) Cascadian 3 season boot- I've been climbing in some variation of them for the past 20 years (tried Kaylands at one point and went back to LS).  I get about 3-5 seasons of decent use out of them, though I did wear a pair out in one year when I spent the winter climbing in New Zealand and the summer climbing hard in the Cascades (before kids, ha!).

The most important thing is fit!  If they don't fit, it doesn't matter the features.  Find the boot company whose last best fits your foot.  You can likely stick with them for life.

I used to think all leather was the way, but I'm sold on synthetic at this point- they dry quicker.  The durability isn't as good in my experience, but the weight savings is worth it.

Good luck!  I started my climbing career in a club course and met lots of great people.....

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Salewa has some great boots out as well.  Ascent Outdoors shop in Ballard has one of the best selections of boots around and pretty knowledgable folks working there.

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as the other guys said - buy the boot that fits.  I tell newcomers to "buy the boot that feels like you were born in it".   Leather vs synthetic?  these days, durability is not much different.  Leather will be heavier, and will require more break-in, but may, after proper break-in, result in closer fit.  Synthetic will not conform to your foot the way leather does, and will not stretch, but will retain the initial "store fit" longer.  Unless you have some fitting and break-in experience with heavy leather boots, you're likely to get a more accurate fit in a synthetic boot because it will mostly continue to fit like it did in the store.  I have low-volume ("flat") feet, and have had great experience with La Sportiva, Garmont, and Lowa.  In my experience, Scarpa works for folks with higher-volume (wide, or high arch) feet.   For a three-season boot, I would favor something lighter than the Makalu.  I like Sportiva's Trango series, and Garmont's Tower series...

-Haireball

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On 3/15/2019 at 2:50 PM, JasonG said:

If the Charmoz is too big I'd check out this (I just bought a pair recently): https://www.sportiva.com/trango-tower-gtx.html

I think they are a great (maybe not perfect) Cascadian 3 season boot- I've been climbing in some variation of them for the past 20 years (tried Kaylands at one point and went back to LS).  I get about 3-5 seasons of decent use out of them, though I did wear a pair out in one year when I spent the winter climbing in New Zealand and the summer climbing hard in the Cascades (before kids, ha!).

The most important thing is fit!  If they don't fit, it doesn't matter the features.  Find the boot company whose last best fits your foot.  You can likely stick with them for life.

I used to think all leather was the way, but I'm sold on synthetic at this point- they dry quicker.  The durability isn't as good in my experience, but the weight savings is worth it.

Good luck!  I started my climbing career in a club course and met lots of great people.....

The Charmoz was only big as far as the actual length (Bellingham REI didn't have my exact size) and not width or any nuanced aspect of the boot. I'm gonna check out Ascent Outdoors (when did they change their name? I only moved from Seattle a couple years ago!) and Backcountry Essentials in Bham and see what I can come up with. I've had a few people tell me to just throw down on something like a LS Nepal Evo or Arc'teryx Acrux AR but as a beginning climber I'm not sure I'd need a boot like that for a few seasons....... Especially with the skiing addiction occupying my winters. 

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10 hours ago, smiley j said:

LS Nepal Evo or Arc'teryx Acrux AR 

Do not buy either of these for 3 season use in the Cascades unless you are a guide on the volcanoes!!  So much of Cascadian summer climbing is hiking and these will destroy your feet.

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